eva higgins photography
IMG_9769.jpg

Dear House on the Mill

Posts tagged Living Room
Spring Home Tour

Welcome! If this is your first time here, my name is Nicole and my family turned a 1923 mill house into our home.  Spring is the best time of year (even though in SC it only lasts a couple of weeks before the heat takes over).  This season epitomizes my style - simple, natural, light and bright! 

To be invited for the Hello Spring Home Tour with all of these wonderful bloggers and their beautiful homes is inspirational.  It's only Wednesday and I'm already planning projects for this weekend because these ladies have given me so many amazing ideas!  Carrie with Lovely Etc. did an amazing job hosting.  There is something new everyday this week so follow the links at the end!

For me, Spring means being outdoors!  We love to grill, sit on the back deck, wave to neighbors, and my son absolutely loves taking rides on the golf cart.  (Riding around the neighborhood on your golf cart is kind of a thing to do on week nights around here - welcome to Small Town, SC.)

So, let's start outside.  A broken old chair adorned with flowers and an old window, mismatched seating, and Ikea dinnerware complete the look.

From wreaths to counter tops, I really am a Do-It-Yourself person.  And if you can't DIY, buy it really cheap :) Michael's had their floral stems for 60% off so I stocked up on some really pretty stems for all of my Spring projects.

A few new (and on sale) pillows, bringing out my colorful throws on the quilt rack, adding simple touches of flowers, and freshening up the mantle complete the living area.

For Christmas I asked the hubby for things from local thrift and antique stores.  I gave him no direction and honestly just wanted to see what he would think I'd like.  He was spot on!  Seriously!  He scored a trunk (below) that was in great condition and only needed a little paint to take it from black and bold to bright and beautiful.  He also picked out the above RC Cola tray and everything that's on display in it. 

Our home is on the smaller side so our main living area doubles as my office.  By painting the desk my favorite color, teal, keeping the cords hidden, and having simple decorations I turned an eye-sore into an extension of the room.

I think our kitchen is the heart of the home.  When people gather here we tend to spend most of our time in this area.  If it's just us hanging out, you can always find us making snacks, cooking dinner, or toy race cars lining the table.  When friends and family arrive, coffee is brewing, desserts are devoured, and our children race around the island.

With the amount of traffic in this area, I really keep it simple in here.  I thrift containers to hold wooden spoons, use dough bowls for fruits and veggies, and my refrigerator is our social calendar (I mean wedding season this year is CRAZY!).

We did almost everything in this kitchen ourselves - from painting the cabinets and the counter tops, installing an island with a dishwasher, to painting the second-hand table and chairs.  This home has a lot of sweat and tears involved but it's our sweat and our tears.

It just so happened that the day I snapped these photos was the same day of a very special dinner with our family.  We are expecting another baby this September and we all gathered to find out the gender :)

These are the moments our home is made for.  It's great to take photos of a spotless home and wish that it would stay that way forever.  But, honestly having 15+ people over, a toddler running everywhere, crumbs on the counter and laughter in the air - that's beauty.

After a delicious dinner, we handed out surprise-filled cupcakes and waited for everyone to take a bite.

And...

It's a Boy!

 

I beyond thankful that you stopped by and spent a few minutes with me today.  I'd love to get your feedback or simply say "Hi" so feel free to leave your comments below.

It's only mid-week so there are still lots of wonderful blogs to tour for the Hello Spring Home Tour.  You do no want to miss anything that these lovely ladies have in store.

Merry Christmas Tour!

First off, welcome - I am so appreciative you are here!  I love this time of year and celebrating the true love of Christ with family and friends.  "We love because He first loved us."

Before our 2 year old woke up and started pulling toys into every room, I had about 30 minutes to photograph a clean home!  I love traditional reds and greens and this year I also decided to add some cotton and natural elements into the mix. 

I had the pleasure to photograph Christmas mini-sessions at a local tree farm in Greenville (Mystic Tree Farm) and while I was there, I picked out our tree.  Instead of the traditional green fur, we went with a Blue Ice tree that really does have a little blue hue to it.  It's beautiful and smells so wonderful!

I didn't have room on my mantle to put four stocking holders and I don't like using command hooks since the top of our mantle is a little thinner.  So, a white curtain rod and two flat stocking holders did the trick! 

Décor in the kitchen is a little more subtle - just a few small wreaths and pops of red and green!

I shopped around for a cotton wreath but the price tags were a little more than I wanted to pay...so a friend informed me of a place in Greenville called The Tomato Vine and they sale cotton by the stem or by the bunch for super cheap!!!  So, a DIY cotton wreath it is!

I've spent weeks searching for a wooden bench for our kitchen table.  I wanted to move things around and center the table with the mantle.  After no luck at my favorite antique and thrift stores, my wonderful father made me one instead.  I can't decide what color to paint it though...all white, stained and white, a color...

Our son will empty an entire toy box looking for his cars (he calls them "beep beeps") so I've started putting them in smaller containers that he can easily find.  This saves us a few minutes of toy clean up each night...one afternoon, he put them in this dough bowl on his small table.  So for Christmas, I thought I'd keep it that way!

But literally, as soon as he woke up - straight to the toys and the photo taking was done.  Mostly because I wanted to play with him too!

I hope this season is merry and bright for you all but never forget why we truly celebrate.  We can make our homes beautiful and get inspiration for one another but His beauty, love and inspiration are unending and all powerful.

Merry Christmas!

-Nicole

 

 

 

Fall tour

I was able to sit down and enjoy an almost spotless home for about 15 minutes yesterday before I heard the first, "Uh Oh" that came right after a dropped cup of milk - lucky for me my dog licked it right up...  This preceded the sandy footprints, crumbs on the floor, and toys thrown about in every room.  But, that's life and that's my style. 

I've had several people ask how I can manage to decorate with a son who likes to climb, crawl, run, and jump on everything!  I don't purchase expensive items for a reason.  I have a two year old and many of my friends that visit have children the same age.   That doesn't mean I don't like nice things, I just keep things simple.  My decor fits with our life and our home.  Small items that are clean and simple with pops of color (usually teal haha).  I also really like old pieces that go with the feel of our 1923 home. 

More times than not if you visit you will see dishes in the sink, toys everywhere and smudges on surfaces.  But, you'll also hear a lot of laughter, little feet running and songs being sung.  Occasionally you will find my home "presentable" but those times only last for about 15 minutes! 

But, here is one of those 15 minute moments from yesterday morning...welcome to my Fall home tour.

 

Thank you for stopping by - I truly appreciate it.  You took time in your day to come here and that means so much to me.  Have a blessed day!

Love,

Nicole

Simply Fall...

My love for Fall is beyond words - I mean college football, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, perfect weather, and colors that match my hair - what's not to love!  I couldn't resist and I started decorating before September...I tried to hold myself off but once the store shelves were lined with candles and white pumpkins, I just couldn't make it. 

I thought this was the best time to work on a project I have been envisioning for a few weeks.  We have some great, original mantels in our home (but no actual working fireplace).  To showcase the one in our main living space, I thought a simple window with a magnolia wreath would look great.  The task was, how to get the window to "float" where I wanted it to.  So, a drill, four hooks, and heavy duty twine later - it's a hanging window!  The best thing about this, I can use the hooks for so much more than just this window (hanging mason jars with flowers, Christmas decor, you name it)! 

It wasn't the easiest thing to hang - these mantles are made of super hard wood (I actually lost a screw from the back of the hook in there somewhere).  I also had to make sure to get products that could hold the weight required.  The hooks each have a safe working load of 35 pounds and the twine has a working load of 90 pounds.  The little extra elbow grease was worth it though :)

I've added simple touches of Fall throughout our home - white pumpkins, candles, some wood pieces, and an adorable sign I found on clearance at TJ Maxx that says "Pumpkin Kisses; Harvest Wishes."

To start off September 1, 2016 I even made pumpkin cookies...yum!

Happy (almost) Fall Y'all!

Love,

Nicole

 

 

Functional Storage in a Small Home

Have I mentioned how small our home actually is?  It's only 1200 square feet; three bedrooms, one bath, and lacking massive amounts of STORAGE!  Seriously, we only have three closets, total...

So, storage is really important and I have to get creative with our limited amount of space.  There is a difference in the attic storage we have versus everyday storage.  With our small home, we have to have access to everyday items but also have a place to put them when they are no longer needed.

Thanks to Amazon, I stumbled upon these cute leather ottomans that double as storage bins.  They hold a lot of stuff.  I keep two in the living room (one for toys and one for throw blankets) and the larger one at the foot of our bed. 

Having easy access to the things you need but being able to store them away is essential to making storage work in our home.  It also keeps me sane and clutter free.

When you are looking for items that help with functional storage, you need to look for items that are needed but offer a dual purpose.  Coffee tables with storage inside, ottomans with storage, floating shelves for important items, decorative baskets or crates that can sit at a fireplace but also hold essential items, the list goes on!

These especially allow my son to play with toys he loves but can easily be put out of sight at night.

What are your functional storage ideas?  Share below :)  As always, thank you for reading.

Love,

Nicole

 

 

 

 

 

 

New and Old

Dear House on the Mill...

I was a little undecided about how I would design the living room.  I started with a sea foam color on the walls but it divided the space too much.  Mill homes don't have an open floor plan and our home specifically doesn't have a wall that could easily be taken down to create an open floor plan.  So, I brought the same color walls from the kitchen (Frappe by Valspar) into this space as well so that it would flow better.  And it certainly helped! 

BEFORE (The door with the wreath was the one we moved behind the computer desk)!

AFTER!

I also painted the mirror above the mantle...and of course I chose to paint it TEAL!  What you can't tell in these Before and After photos is that the area under the mantle actually used to be black.  I painted it white and it lightened the space so much.  I'm thinking now that I'm going to tile that area in white marble...but that's a story for another day...

Here is what this area looked like before I painted it all white! I think it made a BIG difference.

 

When we started shopping for a new couch my initial thought was something lighter in color and maybe a small design on it as well.  But, my husband brought me back to reality by reminding me we have a son under 18 months old and a dog...I could see myself now constantly cleaning up cheesy hand prints, muddy paw prints, and milk stains.  So, instead we bought something durable, easy to clean, and a little darker to help mask those types of everyday life stains.  It's definitely comfortable and we love to lay around watching family movies together on it!

Even though we are bringing new items into our home, I've loved using some of the original elements in my designs.  Not only are some of the original doors still used (as actual doors and as decor) but we also have all of the original windows in storage.  I've used two so far and I have so many ideas for the others!  But, my absolute favorite - the original hardwood floors!

 

This space is always evolving and changing...new throw pillows, baskets, curtains, photo frames, etc. and that's possible because the colors I've chosen make it easy for those changes.  By going with a color that's light but also neutral, you an add and change the details of your space to bring in the color and texture you want.  And, by having the two largest areas of my home the same color, I can take items from one area and put them in the other!

As always, thank you for stopping by.  Next time it's all about the antique pieces left to me by my Great-Grandmother!

- Nicole